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I’m taking a class through E-Learning for Educators (Alabama) on measurement.  Here are some thoughts from today’s readings.  They are in no particular order.

Students need to develop a concept of measurement that includes the idea that measuring requires consistent units. An inch is an inch is an inch, but an inch isn’t the same as a centimeter–they can’t (practically) be combined when measuring the length of something.

Geometry (“Earth measure”) has its roots in spatial measurement.  It helps develop an understanding of 2- and 3-dimensional space. 

Measurement links math with the world, especially with science.

The idea of a unit of measure is fundamental, as is the notion that measurement involves the organized accumulation of standard units.  http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9822&page=281#

Developing the student’s ability to select an appropriate unit is critical.  This is not simple a matter of using inches vs. feet when measuring a paperback book; it involves developing an understanding of the units of length, area, and volume as well as well. 

Subdividing a space according to a unit and counting those units is called iteration.

Young children tend to think of a measurement as a position on a ruler, rather than as a measure of the space between the beginning of the ruler and that position. This can lead to trouble when they are measuring a length that begins at a point other than “0” on a ruler. It is notoriously difficult for students to correctly measure a line that extends from 2 to 5 on a ruler. Many say 5; others count the inch markings and say 4.  http://edtechleaders.org/documents/elemmeasure/Reading_Units.pdf

The idea of reciprocity refers to the fact that larger units require fewer units to measure a specific aspect.  A particular distance might be 1 yard or 3 feet or 36 inches.

Yesterday saw the second of two tragedies to strike Huntsville schools in just over a week: successive Fridays with school shootings.  The first was a student at Discovery Middle School, and the second was a trio of faculty members at UAHuntsville.

I don’t have any statistics or evidence to present, but it seems to me from what I’ve seen over the past 4 years that schools can be places of tremendous conflict.  Faculty, staff, students, parents: all seem to experience tension that I wouldn’t have thought possible when I was outside of the educational community.  Why is this so in an instituion that has a mission of fostering personal growth?

How can we as “insiders” reduce the tension and conflict?

But it was a beautiful snowy day of the sort we don’t see too often around here.

It melted by 2:30, but it was beautiful while it lasted!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/opinion/02engel.html

Thoughts:

(Feb 6) Okay, I’ll admit that I found the piece frustrating.  I like it.  I agree with it.  ‘Tain’t gonna happen.  I know that sounds a tad bit defeatist, but really, we want to see measurable results now in everything that we do.  We don’t want to use a crockpot even though it makes a delicious meal; we drop our exercise programs because it will take more than a week to lose those pesky pounds; we’ve forsaken (relatively) clean public transportation because, really, who wants to stop for someone else on the way to the mall?  I’d love to see each of my students having a strong foundation for learning that starts during adolescence, but it just doesn’t test well… (Why, now that I think of it, is it called “elementary” school?)  Enough negativism–now I’ll reread it for my edification as well as that of my class.

I found out today that I’ll have a yearbook photographer in my classroom to take candid shots for the yearbook.  That’s a bummer.  My classroom is clean…well, cluttered…I mean, it’s obvious that we do stuff there…okay, it’s really trashed and needs to be cleaned.  I fall into the category of “piler.”  Too bad.

For what it’s worth, I’m going to try to get back here and stretch myself a little bit. I recently enrolled in an eLearning course and had the opportunity to put a website on my profile. I have a website–sort of–but it needs a bit of dusting off. Here I am!

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